2019-20 Rookie Review: Tyler Herro Showed To Be More Than A Shooter

(Image by Tomek Kordylewski)

By Matt Esposito

Tyler Herro claimed the 11th spot on my Big Board but was a top tier selection for the future All-Nickname team. I already bought a HerroBall domain name for when he decides to start a multimedia site for his post playing days. I’ll let you know how much money I net when I cash in on it around the year 2034.

Now, let’s disregard this article’s title and discuss how awesome of a shooter Herro was as a rookie for the Miami Heat. According to Cleaning the Glass, Herro shot 43 percent on corner triples and 38 percent on above the break threes. When considering that his 3-point attempt rate hovered just below 50 percent and he took 7.1 3PAs per-36 minutes, his case as being is draft class’ best shooter becomes easy to argue.

We’ll spend ample time delineating his shooting mechanics and pre-shot footwork, don’t you worry. Yet, Herro has other strengths that stand out from his first pro campaign. There are some areas of improvement to cover as well.

Shot Mechanics While Off Ball & Adjusting To The Pro Game

Whenever some gets labeled as having average height and that height is still near 6-foot-5, I get angry. Nevertheless, Tyler Herro possesses unremarkable positional height and has a minus wingspan.

To compensate for this, his shooting mechanics have grown even more compact than they were while he was sinking treys for John Calipari. With longer, more athletics defenders chasing him down, Herro has found a way to tighten that release. Although he still uses a pre-shot dip when necessary, Herro can routinely be seen going straight from the catch to his shot launch.

And guess what? It works! But it isn’t just his upper body mechanics that allowed him immediate NBA success. Herro has become adroit at running his man into screens. He demonstrates solid patience and perfectly times his runs as to drag his defender right into an awaiting screener. Rewatch the video above and focus on that specific element.

Then, go back and watch it a third time. His footwork while going into his shot is reminiscent of league veterans. Herro often opts for the short hop before his shot, something that helps shooter both square themselves and get into rhythm. Between his pre-shot prep and both upper and lower body mechanics, Herro will likely be competing with Cam Johnson as this class’ best sniper for quite some time. He could solely claim the top spot if he continues to improve as a pull up shooter.

Pull Up Shooting

On the surface, Herro’s pull up 3-point shooting numbers do not inspire much confidence. However, the tape and some context should help explain why I am so high on his pull up ability going forward.

Herro took 2.5 pull up triples per game (about half of his total per game threes) and hit 32.5 percent of them. Ostensibly, this isn’t too hot of a mark. So, let’s look at some other rookies for a comparison.

Darius Garland – a hyped shooter from the same class – took almost an identical amount of pull up triples and hit 31.7 percent. Coby White was at 32.8 percent on less attempts. Trae Young took almost double the attempts but sank 31.1 percent. Kennard, Mitchell, Lonzo and Fox all converted at a lesser percentage than Herro. In other words, Tyler is on pace to be a strong pull up shooting guard. But what does the film show us?

Is Herro wiggly like Harden? Is he wiggly like Kemba or Kyrie? No. Is wiggly my favorite word? Maybe. Regardless of is wigglability (I’m coining that phrase), Herro still found a way to be a pull up threat. His hesitation, sidestep and stepback moves are rudimentary but effective nonetheless. Plus, he demonstrated a knack for hitting deep shots despite being off balanced. Expect this part of his game to grow, especially if given more reps as a second string creator for others.

Creating From The Dribble Handoff & The Pick And Roll

The Heat run more dribble handoffs (DHOs) than any team in the NBA. Why? Coach Spo plays to the strengths of his personnel and it works. The first read off of the DHO is for the handoff receiver (usually Duncan Robinson or Herro) to fire away a quick triple. Yet, the Heat run multiple options from these sets.

Tyler Herro already displayed he can make the right read when his shot isn’t there. He uses artful, little head fakes to draw in two defenders at once. He does the same trick with stepback fakes. Herro weaponizes his shot to spring teammates loose and he has no issue distributing to them when they become free.

By shooting 43.3 percent on his DHO attempts, Herro was able to establish himself as a shooting threat. His pick and roll handling stats are far less impressive. Herro creates only 0.67 PPP during these sets. Yet, he has a frequency rate of 30.8 percent. What gives? Why is Miami running him at the pick and roll ballhandler so often despite a poor PPP?

Simply put, Herro has loads of potential as a facilitator. He surprised with his vision this year. What’s more, Herro exhibited patience during pick and roll drives and strong execution on pocket passes. The clips below show him spotting open men throughout the court and slinging one handed rockets to them. The results from his rookie year were statistically lacking but it is easy to see the potential.

Okay, fine, I’ll throw a chart at you, too. This one comes from Cleaning the Glass. Although Herro’s assist to usage ratio ranks only in the 30th percentile, that number does not reflect the whole story. Tyler spent stretches of time this season as either an average or slightly above average creator who not only effectively set up teammates but did so often.

Courtesy of Cleaning the Glass
Defensive Improvements

Okay, so this Herro kid must have had some areas where he struggled, right? Correct. Defensively he has limitations. His physical profile and athletic measurables are not off the charts. To boot, he shows a lack of fundamentals sometimes.

Herro has a tendency to remain in an awkward looking, upward defensive stance. When this happens, players can dart past him. Paired with his underwhelming physicality, this becomes a problem. Teams targeted Herro to get bigger players mismatched onto him. While he’s on the court, the Heat are 18th percentile for giving up points at the rim. Below, you’ll see how savvy teams target him in the paint.

Are there times when Herro loses sight of his man? Sure. But most rookies are prone to defensive lapses and I think he can overcome this issue as he adjusts to the pace at that end of the court. I’m more focused on his stance. The following video is a great example of Herro’s tendency to have choppy side shuffles. Guarding James Harden is no easy task but, his upright stance invites Harden to blow past him.

Offseason To-Do List

Herro should be proud of his rookie season. He proved his shooting would translate and is a living example of why that particular skill has a premium in today’s game. Plus, his facilitating potential shined through some uninspiring analytics.

Herro should continue to work on both his pull up game and his pick and roll decisions making. In fact, the two compliment each other in a “one hand washes the other” type of way. These are practicable skills, too.

Additionally, look for Herro to do what all rookies do and bulk up to add good weight. Teams truly do try to bully him in isolation situations and this needs to be remedied, especially if Miami wants to run Herro out in crunch time. In due time, Coach Spo will beat that limiting defensive stance right out of him, of that I have no doubt. Until then, Heat fans should reexamine their ceiling for Herro, it could be higher than once thought.

Published by Matt Esposito

Founder/Writer for Theplaygrounder.com and contributor to Red’s Army Twitter: @Mattesposito_

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